The eyes are all on Port Lincoln where it is the morning of the 19th of November. Zoe is all wound up just like Indigo was before she fledged. Oh, she wants to fly and she is getting some really good wind under those wings. We are so close to that first flight – the fledge!
I took a video clip for you to enjoy.
The problem is the weather. I am seeing overcast skies, chopping water, wind, and 100% chance of rain starting in less than six hours. Not a good day for a fledge unless Zoe is going to fly and return to the nest. We have come this far. I would hate for anything to happen to this super osplet.
Take care everyone. See you tomorrow!
Thanks Port Lincoln for your streaming cam where I took my video clip.
I hope this newsletter finds all of you well. It is the end of the week. In a fortnight I will be on the island of Grenada in the West Indies visiting my son and looking for birds. He doesn’t know it but I have plotted the spots on the island and I am hoping that we can see at least 25% of the birds on the island – that would be about 40 new species. There are Ospreys right by his office and I am told hummingbirds and hawks in his garden. Can’t wait. With the pandemic, it has been far too long since I have seen him. There are many birds that I do not know or some that have similar names such as the Coot but the one in the Caribbean has a white shield on its head along with its white beak. There are any number of shore birds. So excited. I have a copy of the small book, Birds of the Eastern Caribbean on my desk to help me get acquainted.
In the Mailbox:
An absolutely timely and great question from ‘H’: “Funny you mentioned about the three Stepdads for Peregrine families. I was just thinking about that yesterday. I had wondered if you had ever known any other species where that had occurred. Have you known of any cases where another male had taken over responsibilities of hunting/incubating/parenting duties at the nests of Ospreys or Eagles, for example? (Not including where a chick had intentionally been placed on a different nest) Is this just a Peregrine Falcon thing?”
A bit of background for those not familiar. It is hard to imagine Diamond without Xavier. I recounted in my last blog how Xavier came and helped Diamond with her eyases when Bula disappeared. He was named Xavier because he was a saviour to our dear Diamond and her clutch. The eyases would not have survived having just hatched without Xavier bringing food to Diamond. We all know that Alden stepped in for Grinnell at the University of California at Berkeley scrape belonging to Annie. And we have recently witnessed Male2022 help raise Male2017’s eyases at the ledge scrape of 367 Collins Street in Melbourne. There are a number of instances coming out of the UK where a step dad or extended family members have helped raise clutches including fledglings. But, to get back to the question at hand.
Ospreys go absolutely crazy at the thought the eggs that are in the nest might belong to another male. I posted a couple of video examples a few months back of an osprey kicking the eggs out of the nest that he believed belonged to another male. I have never seen a male Osprey raise another male’s osplets. I have also never seen an eagle of any species take over the role of the male and raise another’s eaglets.
There are, as you seem to have indicated, many instances whereby the fostering of eggs and/or chicks has been successful but that is an entirely different situation to what you are asking. I have tried to find literature on the topic to more fully answer your question and if there is anyone reading this that knows of examples other than Peregrine Falcons becoming active step-dads, please do bring that to my attention.
After reading about ‘J’s’ budgie, Wolpe, Raj writes that they had a very similar incident with their pet birds. ” My pet budgie Daisy was best friends with Blue. Both inseparable. Loving each other always side by side. One day Daisy died. I held Daisy in my palm. Blue was so distressed and loudly screeched when Daisy died. Blue was very quiet not eating or playing.” When a new budget, Sky, came to the family, Blue was not interested. He was only in love with Daisy.” Thank you, Raj. This another beautiful example of the emotions that our feathered friends feel and express.
In the News:
Humans must steer clear of Yew trees as they are very poisonous to us but, not to our charming Nuthatches!
Zoe is a big girl. We knew that when they weighed and banded her but today, Mum purposefully left a nice fish (sans head) for Zoe to see what she would do. Well, Zoe took the fish and ate every last bite including the tail as watchers cheered her on. The fish tail was horked at 11:11.
Zoe takes pulls the fish over so she can eat it as Mum looks on. This is crucial – Mum is full and knows that Zoe needs to self feed and will be fledging soon.
“Nice talons you have, Zoe.” “All the better to scratch you with!”
At Orange, panic might have set in if you looked at the scrape and did not see any eyases in there. Indigo flew out and was on top of the tower. Look carefully and you will see Rubus sleeping in the corner – bottom left reveals his tail.
A really nice and informative interview with Cilla Kinross about the history of the scrape and the Peregrine Falcons at Orange.
Indigo left the scrape at 101439 and he returned at 121012. Diamond had been in the scrape with prey and flew out with it right when Indigo came back. Rubus was really wondering what was going on and gave some of his very loud prey cries.
After a busy morning with 4 prey deliveries in 5 hours – and one being removed – the two lads, Indigo and Rubus, settled down to a nice sleep on the ledge.
I don’t know about anyone else but, I am really pleased that Indigo is returning to the scrape box, flying off for short periods to strengthen him flying techniques, and then returning again for prey and rest. Surely this will help him to be much more successful!
‘A’ sent a link to a video of Indigo being fed on top of the water tower. Thanks, ‘A’! Great clip.
At one time there were thought to be at least 1400 pairs of breeding White-tailed Eagles in the United Kingdom. By the beginning of the 20th century, the White-tailed Eagle was almost extinct. Before their recent re-introduction, the birds last bred in England and Wales in the 1830s, in Ireland in 1898 and in Scotland in 1916. The RSPB reports that the last UK birds was shot in Shetland in 1918.
Reintroduction efforts began in 1959 and 1968 in Scotland. They were not successful. Then in 1975, juvenile eagles brought to the UK from Norway were released on the Isle of Rum in the Hebrides. The first pair bred successfully a decade later and now there are 130 pairs of White-tail breeding Eagles across the west and north of Scotland.
White-tail Eagles have added much to the economy and at the Isle of Munn where there are so many, the boost to the local coffers from bird tourism was 5 million GBP. Still, humans kill these beautiful birds.
The reintroduction efforts were the hard work of Roy Dennis and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation. Continuing efforts are now overseen by the Sea Eagle Project Team – a joint effort of the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage. The biggest threats are predation by illegal killing particularly around the grouse hunting estates and secondary poisoning.
Thank you so much for being with me today. Please take care of yourselves. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: ‘A’, OpenVerse, The Guardian, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and OmarGlobal.
Oh, good morning to all of you. Thank you so very much for being with me today. I am so very, very happy to be with you! Thank you for all of the wonderful stories that you have sent. I will be working my way through them slowly. Much appreciated. We woke up to more snow. Everything is beautiful and white!
The kidlets, Missy and Lewis, had their first vet visit. I am a glowing proud parent. They were soooooo well behaved. They are not litter mates and the adoption person told us that they might not get along with one another. I have not had more than one kitten since I was a child and did not know what to expect.
I remember one stray that someone left at our gate. when I was a child. Oh, I loved that cat. To me the drab brown tabby was the most beautiful cat in the world. My grandmother was very diplomatic and said, ‘He sure is sweet’. I begged to keep this one particular cat. My dad agreed since it was a ‘boy’. Well, he apparently didn’t check very good…a few weeks later we had a pack of kittens. That tabby lived for more than 10 years. She was incredibly sweet. It is very different, having kittens outside with their mother and kittens in the house – in a conservatory, with very large plant pots and tall vines with flowers, or trees…yes, trees.
But, back to the topic at hand. Lewis and Missy are the best of mates. They do everything together including eating out of the same dish at the same time, drinking out of the same dish at the same time, having to have their paws touch when they are sleeping or sleeping in the same tent. Always together. So off they went in the same pet carrier, not separate, together. Not a single peep. At the vet they were so content. Proud Mum here!
I got a tip from the technician at the vet. One of the biggest culprits for cats will be their teeth. I hope if you have cats and dogs are brushing their teeth or giving them things to facilitate good gum health and clean teeth. If you have tried brushing their teeth and it didn’t work, get a nice flavoured tooth paste. Lewis and Missy like the chicken. Take clean nylon stockings or panty hose. Cut a square. Wrap it around your finger, put a dab of the toothpaste on it and away you go. Be sure to do the back ones and those sharp canines in the front. You can get them used to what you are going to do by rubbing on the outside of their cheek for a couple of days. Small toothbrushes or those prickly things you put on your finger did not – at least not for these two. Panty hose do! And I swore I would never wear the darn things again after I retired. So glad there is some use for them!
Missy is the ‘alpha’ You might recall she had Lewis well aware that she is the boss immediately. The vet saw it too! Indeed, the vet smiled and said, “Always the female!” Anyone watching a raptor on a streaming cam knows this. I said nothing. The odd thing is Lewis is so solid and looks ‘so tough’ and Missey appears to be ‘so fragile’. So funny. Missy is half Maine Coon – but both, at the end of the day, are literally ‘alley cats’. Found new borns taken to the shelter from different parts of my city. We are so lucky to have in our lives.
Missey likes to get inside plant pots – with or without soil. This is the tiny artificial tree that has been put up. The soft felted birds have had to be removed. LOL.
Looking so innocent! “We didn’t do it!”
Today’s action was still at the scrape box of Diamond and Xavier. Those parents are really making sure that both Rubus and Indigo are well fed. What a fantastic couple they are. The moderator put some history in the chat today and for those of you that do not know – we now have at least three male peregrine falcons that we know of that have started out as step-fathers.
The last sighting of Diamond’s mate, Bull, was on 30 September 2016. Their erases hatched on the 4th and 5th of October. The first sighting of Xavier in the scrape box at Orange was on the 7th of October. He brought prey to Diamond and the babies on the 8th of October. The rest is history as it is with Alden at UC-Berkeley and M2022 at 367 Collins Street.
Aren’t they adorable? Every day Rubus looses more and more dandelions.
Everyone has been wanting to know when Indigo would fly again. He certainly has been eating well and enjoying being back home. Today, right before 14:38 Indigo got a little frantic, running around the scrape just like he did the day before he fledged. At 143802, Indigo flew out of the scrape box. He returned 35 seconds later! I caught it on video for you.
‘H’ sent this link to me. It is a split screen video that Cilla Kinross made of a feeding. Disregard the word ‘kestrels’. It is definitely Rubus and Indigo. Thanks, ‘H’. Delightful.
Indigo and Rubus both in the scrape as the IR lights are turning off.
The wind was really blowing and there were lots of white caps at Port Lincoln. It made everyone wonder whether or not there would be any fish today but – alas, it turned out good.
At Port Lincoln, Zoe can surely scream for the fish! I have jokingly said that I hope she lives a long and healthy life with many osplets screaming their heads off to her…their poor Dad. Just imagine.
There have been at least 2 fish deliveries today. Mum was on the ropes eating a fish around 1400. Zoe took absolutely no notice. She was not hungry. Isn’t that grand? No one on this nest hungry. The fish are ever so unstable. But – we will take it. Today is a good day. Mum ate her bit and flew to the nest at 141408 and fed her large daughter.
Zoe doesn’t even seem to know or care if Mum is over on the ropes eating a fish. Normally she would be screaming her head off. Not today. It is a good fish day.
When the feeding was over, Zoe had an enormous crop.
All of the family together. Mum has a very nice crop from the earlier feedings.
Lots of food at Port Lincoln. These are the late time stamps from Gtr Kitarr: 19:16 headless fish by Dad, Mum off w the fish, back at 19:29 to feed Zoe. 20:24 Zoe wing flapping & 20:24:14 standing on one leg. 21:10 headless fish by Dad, Mum feeds Zoe in the dark.
The investigation of the theft of four precious Albatross eggs continues.
How many of us love Iris? The oldest Osprey in the world whose nest is on the lot of Riverside Health Care Center in Missoula, Montana. A request has come in from lovers of Iris. Here it is:
Here is a very short report on the current status of Sea Eaglets 29 and 30. I also want to mention that my contact tells me that the sea eaglets are at different clinics. The specific names are not being mentioned as is the case with other popular birds to keep the phone lines open for injured wildlife.
There are many birds that I do not know. This bird is one of the first to be spotted when it returns from its winter migration in Africa to the fields in the UK. In Africa, they feed on the insects that the elephants kick up from under their feet so if you ever get to go to Africa on a safari and see a herd of elephants look for these dramatic sulphur yellow birds with their grey heads. In the UK, they follow the farm tractors kicking up the soil to reveal their next meal. They need a good supply of insects and spiders to survive. Besides fields, manure heaps and wet lands are good places for them to forage.
Yellow Wagtails raise two clutches a year if there is suitable nesting spaces and food. Their nests are low on the ground adjacent to wet lands, salt marshes, hay meadows, and some fields of vegetable crops.
Changes to agriculture and crops grown put the Yellow Wagtail under threat. The RSPB has made some recommendations to farmers in the UK which would help stabilise and grow the numbers of these beautiful birds. This includes returning to having some manure heaps for them to forage through. They are beautiful songbirds. Let us hope that those who can do something to encourage their population growth will keep this in mind when they are planning their crops and how they do their farming in the upcoming years before it is too late.
We are waiting for both Zoe and Rubus to fledge. Rubus is not quite ready but is getting more and more interested as Zoe spends time in the scrape and now, that she has flown in and out again. Zoe is doing a lot of wingers. I am a bit old fashioned. The longer they stay on the nest or at the scrape and the stronger they are when they fledge, the more chance they will have of success. Weak tired birds do not do well in the field.
Thank you so very much for being with me today. Send your best wishes to our beautiful sea eaglets as they recover. Take care of yourselves, too. Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Thank you to the following for their posts, their videos, and their streaming cams which make up my screen captures: OpenVerse, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Sea Eagles FB, Montana Ospreys at Hellgate, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Royal Albatross FB.
Oh, good morning to everyone! I hope that you are all well. If you have not been watching the scrape of Diamond and Xavier you are really missing something. First, there is the adorable Indigo and Rubus. They are ‘not sweet’ when it comes to prey items as the following two videos will demonstrate! But, they will be ‘out there’ defending their own prey and these little dust ups help them prepare for that. In the first video Rubus really does a good job at snatching that small prey item. He doesn’t prevail in the end but watch closely what he does. Quite the character.
Rest assured that at the end of the day, both eyases had quite enough to eat and at times were even sharing prey items.
So this is the first prey delivery, a small piece.
The second is a much more substantial bird, a Galah (pink and grey). There was more than enough for both eyases.
The fish deliveries continue to be rather scarce at Port Lincoln. It is difficult to determine if there has been an actual drop in the prey delivered or a slow down due to the imminent fledgling of Zoe and not three rapidly growing osplets. There are too many factors – the weight of the fish delivery, the portions that each family member ate, etc. It appears that at the current delivery rate, Mum, Dad, and Zoe are each getting the equivalent to one small fish per day. Is this enough?
Hoping for another fish but nothing has arrived. Mum appears to be reluctant to get too far away from the nest. Did the intrusion of the humans to band and put the sat pak on Zoe cause her stress? Is she afraid to leave Zoe? Quite possibly. Perhaps she will go fishing tomorrow but, for now it seems that she is relying on Dad.
The ospreys are not moving about much, not exerting much energy. Today, however, Zoe is doing a lot of wingersizing. Her wings are gorgeous. Just look at how big they are! It will be those big wings that will pull Zoe up out of the water when she catches her fish.
This shows what those strong wings will be doing. Just imagine. Zoe will have to catch her own fish until such time as she has a mate and has eggs in the nest.
AND THEN…a whopper of a fish arrived. Mum ate her fill and then took the fish to Zoe. Everyone will go to bed with a full crop at Port Lincoln. Relief.
Mum did not part with the fish when Dad arrived more than an hour later to see if there was any left. This whopper should take care of the hunger that she was experiencing – and Zoe. (I do hope that Dad had a fish, too).
Even in Manitoba we are experiencing some birds that are late to migrate or who have decided to check it out and see what it is like in the winter for food. Some of those are Cardinals. This is an osprey in Idaho though! They need water and fish as we all know. Why so late?
Project Eagle will be the new home of the American Eagle Foundation The facility is located in Kodak, Tennessee and is set on 57 acres. Challenger the Eagle will be in residence there.
‘M’ introduced me to an Australian photographer, Georgina Steeler. All of this relates again to how we perceive our wonderful feathered friends and other wildlife. We have been having this discussion about anthropomorphising birds. We need people to care, to help all of us, to add to the numbers so that we build a huge network. At the same time, we need to recognise and educate ourselves about the emotions that wildlife have so we can try and have an intelligent conversation with the non-believers.
I urge you to Goggle Georgina Steytler and go and see her website, read her blog, look at her photographs, and ponder all the ways that you can make a difference. Oh, I like this woman and the way she thinks!
Here is one of the quotes on her site today from one of my heroines, Jane Goodall who knows that wildlife have and show emotion, pain, anger, fear, grief, and joy.
‘D’ sent me the link to this story to share with all of you. After reading about Wolke, this is another story of how much our feathered friends enrich our lives as told through budgies:
When I wrote about the Red Listed Bird, The European Starling, I had no idea Starlings were so intelligent and could mimic anything including Mozart’s concerto. Birds and their intelligence fascinate me more and more. ‘F and M’ sent me a note telling me about an incident at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. They wrote, “A week or so ago Tooronga Zoo in Sydney Australia had a breakout from the lion’s enclosure causing an alarm and the instruction “EVACUATE NOW” to sound. The lyrebird is now mimicking this alarm and instruction. It is causing quite a problem at the zoo. !!” Enjoy!
This is the female. In this instance the female Dotterel has the brighter plumage than the male. The female has the same grey-brown plumage on the back of the head, wings, and back but look at that magnificent chestnut apron! With the espresso necklace and line between the eyes forming a brown and the espresso line running from the beak under the eye. What a beauty.
The Dotterel is a medium sized member of the Plover family measuring approximately 20-22 cm in length. The birds are unusual in that it is the female that has the brighter plumage rather than the male. They live on insects and worms. Their eggs take 28-32 days to incubate and during this entire time the female does not leave the nest to feed. She is fed by her mate.
Dotterel face a number of threats from predators that have been introduced into their environment particularly during the nesting and breeding season. These include dogs, hedgehogs, cats, rats, stoats as well as other larger birds, and humans.
Thank you so very much for being with me today. Do stop in and watch Indigo and Rubus. You will not be disappointed! Take care. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their postings and streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Ospreys, Openverse, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, American Eagle Foundation, Montana Ospreys at Hellgate, Georgina Steytler. I would also like to thank those that sent in news items today: ‘M, D, F and M’. Much appreciated! It is always lovely to get mail to share with everyone.
It is Tuesday on the Canadian Prairies. It seems like the days have passed by so quickly – just a blur. One day it is Friday and in a blink, we find ourselves waking up to Tuesday. In part, I attribute this to the time difference between North America and Australia where all of the streaming cam action has been taking place these past three months. At any rate, I hope that you are well and I am so glad that you are here with me on this sunny day. It is only -6. Glorious! The Starlings are eating the suet and the lilacs are full of sparrows. Three grey squirrels have been running about this morning hoping that I will put out peanuts or a new seed cylinder for them. Soon!
Last week I received a letter from someone who had commented on one of the streaming cams and who had been admonished for putting human feelings on the birds. As you might recall, I am an ardent supporter of the research of scientists such as Dr Marc Bekoff at the University of Colorado and others such as Jane Goodall. I reassured my reader that, according to Dr Bekoff, it is currently acceptable within the science community, to anthropomorphise wildlife. Indeed, him and his colleagues do this all the time. I received so many letters in response to this question. It is reassuring that so many people, from every corner of our planet, understand that animals have emotions, that they feel pain, they experience joy and grief and fear. One reader shared the story of one member of her flock and how they grieved following the death of their mate. ‘J’ has given me permission to share the story of her budgie, Wolpe, with you. Thank you ‘J’. Here is a brief recount of how Wolpe mourned and how the death of her first mate changed her attitude towards life and love.
As a child, ‘J’ had a pet budgie that would sit on her shoulder when she was reading. It was her dream to have her own aviary ‘when she grew up’ and to share her life with these amazing birds.
The beautiful budgie below is Wolpe, one of 15 budgies that make up ‘J’s bird family. Each is a rescue that shares ‘J’s flat with her in Europe. In my City, we do not have budgies that look like Wolpe; they are all one colour. I find the colour patterns of Wolpe fascination but, I am disgressing from our story.
Wolpe and Peppi were long term mates. Peppi would preen Wolpe and give her all the love and care that he could. He also showed his affection by feeding his mate. Wolpe loved Peppi but did not reciprocate in showing her affection. She never preened Peppi – never ever – and she never fed him.
When Peppi died, Wolpe physically and mentally went into mourning. She “stood still on a branch for 10 days straight after her mate died last year. It was horrible to see.” She was not her usual self. She did not interact with any of the flock, or the enrichment toys nor was she actively engaged in shredding things – her favourite activity. It was totally clear that she was grieving her lost mate.
At the same time that Wolpe was morning so was ‘J’. One of the hardest things that ‘J’ had to deal with was the fact that most people did not understand her grief. A common response was, “it’s only a bird.” For ‘J’ each time one of her family passes, it “takes away a little piece of my heart.”
This is Wolpe with her mate, Peppi, before he died in 2021.
When Wolpe chose a new mate, it was Kobito. Kobito is also green just like Peppi. It was a huge surprise to ‘J’ that these two began their relationship as a couple. It mean huge changes in each of their behaviours.
For Wolpe, this meant that she became more physically caring for her mate. She now carefully goes through Kobitos head feathers, running each one through her beak cleaning it. She organizes the feathers on his head, something that a bird cannot do for themselves. Wolpe also feeds Kobito. It is as if she realized that she needed to be more tender and more caring. Kobito, on the other hand, always sat in front of the window looking ‘out’ He was isolated and distant as if he wanted to be somewhere else. Once he courted and won Wolpe, it seemed that he “actually turned in Peppi II!” Kobito began to socialize with the other birds; he became part of the flock and even became closer to ‘J’. It was like a 180 degree turn. He also spent much time preening and feeding Wolpe.
It seems as if Wolpe realized what she had lost when Peppi died. She missed that closeness of having a mate, of being able to show her love. She is making up for that now. Grieving can lead to introspection and changes and I hope that Wolpe and Kobito live long and happy lives together with ‘J’.
If you have an example of grieving feathered friend or raptor that you remember and would like to share or remind me, please send me an e-mail!
Indigo and Rubus learned how to sort out who was going to eat. Indigo was famished when she arrived back at the scrape on the 13th. Indigo spent Monday evening in the scrape.
As he calmed down, glad to be back in the scrape, and was fed, the frenzy to eat calmed. At one point Rubus and Indigo had a bit of a tussle over a prey item. They wound up sharing it! One ate off one end while the other was at the other.
Diamond flew in and fed both Indigo and Rubus.
Later, Xavier arrived with more prey and Xavier and Diamond each fed their youngsters.
Indigo was still working on the last prey delivery at 1824.
As the IR lighting was preparing to turn off, Rubus was in her favourite corner of the scrape while Indigo was sleeping on the ledge. It is so nice to have Indigo back in the scrape. We are always so anxious for the birds to fledge but it has to be difficult for them. Indigo is eating and resting. Rubus continues to lose dandelions. Soon they will look alike!
This morning it is only 4 degrees C in Orange.
‘A’ sent me a thorough recap of the happenings at Orange. Thanks, ‘A’.
RECAP: prey at: 5.43.29 Xavier with prey, Indigo takes; 6.03.43 Xavier with prey, Indigo takes; 6.05.25 D w/StubQuail, feeds Rubus; 9.41.51 X w/?juv BFCS (black-faced cuckoo shrike), Rubus takes; 12 57 55 X with star, leaves it, Indigo claims; 13.06.50 X w/star, Rubus takes; 13 12 07 D w/prey, Indigo takes; 14:19:22 X w/pardalote; 16:46:15 prey, 18.06.46 X prey; 19:42:29 D retrieves nestovers from near Cilla Stones and takes them into the centre of the scrape and starts eating herself; 19:43:33 Diamond feeds Indigo.
The lack of fish continues to plague Port Lincoln. Two fish came in yesterday both brought by Dad. The times were 0836 and 1707. In both occasions, Mum took the fish and flew off to eat a portion. She returned and Zoe got the tail in the morning but nothing in the evening. Mum is obviously desperately hungry. We know that she often fed the osplets to her own detriment. I am glad that she has some food but, what is really going on at Port Lincoln. Is Dad unwell? is there a lack of fish? Dad is notorious for bringing in a historic average of 7 fish per day.
It is 11 degrees this morning at Port Lincoln.
I really hope that more fish arrive on the nest today. We have one big healthy osplet getting near to fledge and a Mum who was desperate for food yesterday. Send this nest your good wishes, please.
‘A’ reminded me that we now also have a true name for the ‘Z’ in our list of birds: Zoe will now take that spot.
As you are probably aware, the camera at 367 Collins Street is no longer streaming. ‘H’ reports that the camera had a technical issue and then with the death of the fledgling, Victor Hurley asked Mirvac to leave the camera off until next season.
‘H’ reports that the injured fledgling was euthanized on 15 November, yesterday. Having hit a window or a wall, the beautiful fledgling suffered a broken spinal column. The clinic determined that the injured bird was a female. Oh, how sad. It is a reminder that live for urban raptors is very challenging. Thanks, ‘H’.
‘A’ sent the following description, comparing Orange and Melbourne. I hope she does not mind that I share it with you as I thought it was particularly appropriate after the death of that healthy eyas. The parents can provide them with prey, teach them to hunt but they cannot protect them in the environment into which they fledge. I wish they could! ‘A” writes: The Orange eyases fledge into a relatively sheltered, semi-private area, a bit like the eaglets at SWFL eagles, whereas the poor Collins Street chicks fledge into an urban jungle filled with concrete and glass and difficult wind currents and gusts (for example, at every cross street, the bird flying down a city street would be hit by a strong wind gust from one side or the other, rushing down the cross street). I am sure you know what I mean about the wind tunnel effect through those walls of massive skyscrapers in modern-day CBDs. It may be a safe scrape but the environment into which they fledge is very dangerous.
The last to fledge, dubbed Peanut by ‘H’ – and a very fitting name at that – fledged at approximately 0712 on the 15th, yesterday morning.
Send your very best wishes out to this family – may they all soar high, have full crops, remain safe in an area full of prey but also high buildings with deadly wind currents. We will look forward to seeing Mum and Dad 2022 again next year! Thank you to Mirvac and Victor Hurley for allowing us the privilege to watch these incredible falcons. There is rain in the forecast today in Melbourne and it is cool, 7 degrees C.
Cornell reports that it was one of their best Bird Count Octobers ever! Excellent news. So many people participated around the world.
There will be no news of Kaia and Karl II til spring it seems.
Bonus remains “near Başkaraören, in the Seydişehir district, Konya province in Turkey. He stayed mainly on the north side of the Beysehir Channel.”
There must be really good fishing there for our fledgling Black Stork.
Waba is still in the Sudan. He has also found a very good area to fish.
The Looduskalender Forum indicates with the rainy season this area would be much greener now than in the satellite view that they have of the region.
It is wonderful to know that these two fledglings will do well. Remember that migration is driven by food availability and these two, Bonus and Waba, seem to have found good feeding grounds for now. I wonder if they will try to stay where they are for the winter?
Thank you so much for being with me today. I will resume The Red List of vulnerable birds tomorrow! Take care everyone. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their pictures, posts, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: thanks ‘A’ and ‘H’ for the Australian reports, thanks ‘J’ for sharing Wolpe’s story with us, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Cornell Bird Labs, Google Maps, and Looduskalender Forum.
Oh, goodness, Sunday was a day full of surprises! Two of them welcome and the other two, just shattering.
I had not anticipated sending out the newsletter this morning. The news coming out of NZ and Melbourne today would overwhelm this wonderful story of birds and emotions that I am working on. So tomorrow I will introduce you to Wolke so that you can enjoy reading about her incredible journey through grief to find love.
I don’t think anyone was shocked to discover that Big Bob at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge was a girl. I am not sure that anyone was surprised that she was the largest osprey ever hatched and ready to fledge either. Big is a BIG girl. The pink band is fantastic and what a super tribute to Janet Forster’s granddaughter to have the 2022 osplet named after her, Zoe. What was surprising was the determination of the local gulls to steal the fish right off the nest on the barge as Zoe was pancaked!
This really opened my eyes to what Dad might have to go through when he is fishing. We have seen the gulls steal a fish right out of his talons but, imagine them swarming him when he is fishing. That makes me sad.
Dad came in with a fish at 132824. He brought an earlier fish at 064935.
Mum prevailed and fed herself and her big Zoe.
It was a good fishing day for Dad who flew in with another fish at 1900. We have all been worried about Dad. Is the lack of fish due to weather? sediment so he could not see clearly? or him just feeling unwell? We probably will never know but, he did manage 3 fish and Mum and Zoe had the fish that were left after banding that the gulls did not get. (I think the gulls only took 1 of the 3 fish).
Zoe screaming loud with Mum as they see Dad approaching with the fish.
The shock of all shocks was Indigo being physically strong enough to fly into the scrape box and scare the wits end out of Rubus and Diamond who were enjoying a nice meal!
What great form! She landed in that scrape safely and took control of that prey. The in climate weather for the past day must have meant she had not had food and was famished.
Indigo stayed in the scrape with Rubus. He was there when they turned the IR off. (Cilla has done this to keep the numbers of mosquitoes down).
Dusk is coming.
Two specific incidents come to mind. One was Legacy, the 2021 fledgling of Samson and Gabby at NEFL. Legacy flew off the nest. I would have to check but, she was gone about a week. Everyone presumed she was being fed by the adults. She was seen flying into other eagle’s nests and it appeared to birders on the ground she was looking for her natal nest. She was caught on camera flying close by and then one day, she landed on the nest. She was famished and she did not fly off that nest for another month! Samson and Gabby were so glad to see her they provided so much fish! The second was WBSE 26. 26 was in the forest for about a week being harassed by the Currawongs and Magpies after fledging. She made it back to the natal nest, exhausted and hungry. Again the parents happily took care of 26 – you could almost see Lady’s delight that her baby was home. 26 stayed, ate, and got her strength up for about a week before being chased out of the forest. That was 2 years ago today that the Magpie helped 26 fight off the Currawongs.
I was also thinking about Izzy who returned to the scrape at Orange for so long. Diamond had to block the door finally for Izzy to get the message to move on. I suspect that Indigo is tired. Flying is a lot of work and the birds have to build up those muscles. Indeed, Indigo did go to sleep eating! Indigo might have been flying around the campus not connecting with the parents for a prey drop during the stormy weather the day prior. It will be interesting to see what happens when Rubus fledges. For now, isn’t it a delight to see Indigo safe and back in the scrape knowing he has had a meal?
The third surprising event was just a shattering. Four eggs from the Royal Albatross that are now breeding at Taiaroa Head have been stolen! There is no evidence to suggest that predators took the eggs and the NZ DOC is working with the police and going over footage to try and determine what has happened. Unbelievable.
Hearts are breaking.
Whenever something really terrible happens, I think of Ervie and today, thank you Friends of Osprey for posting more pictures of our beloved lad. Now notice Ernie’s lovely necklace. We know he is a male so, let this image guide us. Males do have necklaces. Blue 022 has a stunning one. It is not a foolproof method of determining gender in Ospreys.
Just look at Ernie’s nice crop. I wonder how his talon is coming along. I could not tell from the images but, he certainly is a most handsome osprey.
Speaking of Ervie, Friends of Osprey posted another image of Ervie with his satellite tracker and an explanation about trackers and why they are important.
Sad news is coming out of Melbourne. This is the fourth event – another shattering one. One of the fledglings has been found on a footpath near 367 Collins Street. Send all your positive wishes, please.
Just about the time we think things are going quiet, events that we might not have imagined take place. Our thoughts go out to the fledgling from Collins Street so that it will improve quickly and be able to be released. Life is very challenging for the urban birds. While there is generally a lot of prey – pigeons – there are also lots of buildings with glass that are difficult to manoeuvre when one is just learning to fly.
Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care all. If you get a chance stop in and check on Indigo, she might just stay at the scrape today. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that made up my screen captures: Friends of Osprey FB, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Falcon Watchers FB, Royal Cam Albatross Group NZ FB, Port Lincoln Ospreys and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.
I did not expect that anything could match the banding and putting the sat pad on Port Lincoln’s largest female osplet, Zoe BUT, something did happen.
This afternoon at the scrape on the water tower at Charles Sturt University in Orange an event took place that no one believed would be possible yet – eventually but, not yet. Well, it happened.
Indigo saw Diamond fly to the scrape with prey. He would have heard Rubus screaming, too. Indigo flew into the scrape and took the prey. Indigo was obviously famished. Diamond and Rubus were in utter shock.
It is unclear how much prey Indigo has received from the parents but, this is wonderful – simply marvellous – as it means that both Rubus and Indigo are getting fed. From the way that Indigo grabbed and ate that prey – and we must remember that Indigo has never been aggressive like Rubus – it appears it might been awhile since he had a prey drop.
Very reassuring to see Indigo in the scrape. This means that he has the strength to fly at the angle to get into the scrape. It was a fantastic fly in. It also means that we might see Indigo get more food drops there.
Oh, just lovely. You do not need my narrative. Write your own!
Thank you so much for being with me. Please take care. I will be posting my Monday November 14th newsletter mid-afternoon. See you then!
Thank you Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross for your streaming cam where I took my screen captures.
Port Lincoln Ospreys says that a decision about banding and putting a satellite tracker on Big will be made at 0900 Port Lincoln time. That is about two hours away from now and it is 1442 on the Canadian Prairies. The forecast that I am seeing for Port Lincoln is calling for wind but no rain. Fingers crossed that Ian Falkenberg can get the job done! I wonder what Big’s name will be???
An early chunk of fish came on the nest at Port Lincoln. Mum is so hungry. She did not give Big all of the food! Thankfully. It was either one bite for you and one for me or two bites for Mum and one for Big. She was just ‘wolfing’ down that fish, she was so hungry.
Mum and daughter.
What a welcome sight. Dad arrives with a fish first thing in the morning.
Mum is famished. I have not seen her so hungry. We all worry about the chicks having enough food but the adults have to eat too in order for them to fish and care for the young.
At the end of the day, it appears that there simply was not enough food to feed a family of 5 this year. I don’t even like saying that but, right now, we have a seemingly healthy chick who is hungry and a Mum who is hungry and I suspect a Dad that is hungry. They are doing the best they can with what they have. We need to send the most positive wishes this family’s way. We might not ever know the reason but, it would be very informative if someone was doing a study on fish stocks in the area along with toxins, the impact of weather on the fishing capabilities of osprey, weather system changes, etc. Maybe someone is!
The banding began around 0900 or a little earlier. Mum stayed on the barge and watched everything that was going on inside the boat.
Big – you aren’t surprised are you? Has a pink band and is a girl. What we didn’t know is that she is the biggest girl yet at 1700 grams or 3.75 lbs. Incredible. We also all knew she was a fish eating machine.
One healthy girl named Zoe after Janet Forster’s granddaughter.
Thank you Port Lincoln.
NOTE: The newsletter for 14th of November will be posted around 1600 Canadian time.
Saturday was one of those quiet stay-at-home days. It gave me a chance to think of the ways that those of us who live in wintery climates cope with the weather. As it is, the sow is dancing down right now. The European Starlings are eating suet and Butter Bark and Mr Crow cawed so much that I gave him high protein kitten kibble. Oops. The Starlings have found the kibble!
Inside the house, the candle holders have been cleaned and given new candles. An apple crisp is in the oven. So, instead of starting out birds today, we will begin with something simple to make your house cosy on a crisp day. Put 1 sliced orange and 1 sliced lemon in a 2 litre (qt) pot. Leave the peel on – that is where the lovely oils are. Add a few bay leaves, 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks, a good tablespoon of cloves, and cover the whole with water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer. You can add water as needed. I used to add tea bags to the brew. It is a lovely spiced tea but needs some straining. The other thing you can do is to take the peels of your oranges and lemons and use them. I always have bags in the freezer! It is part of a strategy to have zero waste.
Our darling Ernie. Poster child of handsome beginning to do some moulting.
For the very first time successful fledges at Maine’s Hog Island Boathouse Osprey platform. Dory and Skiff are making the news! Congratulations to this Osprey couple who successfully fledged three osplets from the Hog Island Osprey platform this year. What an amazing family this was to watch.
Oh, so very grateful to Cilla Kinross for finding Indigo and showing us how this handsome lad is doing after fledging. Isn’t he a stunner?
Tweed Valley fledged three ospreys this year. Two of them have perished. The other, Glen, found himself on a couple of container ships before finally making it to Spain! Here is the latest on this youngster.
‘EJ’ sent me some grand news. It is amazing what we can do when we get together to help benefit the environment and wildlife. A community joined together and raised 2.2 Million GPB to purchase a tract of land to enlarge a nature reserve. Just think – this could be a way of halting development in areas that are needed by the wildlife. Is there land where you live that is adjacent to a nature reserve that could benefit from such an endeavour? Keep this positive action in mind if ever you get a chance to work with your community.
All eyes are on Port Lincoln. Ian Falkenberg was up at midnight finishing up the permit forms – that myriad of red tape that Port Lincoln has to do in order to ring the osplets on the nests. Fran and Bazza said that he was up again at 0600 getting ready. So, today, Big, whether you like it or not you will be weighed, measured, hopefully a sample of your blood is taken for DNA, and you will be given a sat pak. Big, we all know that you are one big cranky girl that won’t let any bird get in your way. You are now the only hope of Port Lincoln for 2022 – you carry a heavy responsibility. Please do not ever land on a hydro pole no matter how much you might want to.
Ian Falkenberg has made the call to postpone putting the tracker and ringing until later today or tomorrow. This cannot be done in wet weather. In addition, it really is now or never. In the UK, birds are not banded after 45 days because of the great fear of scaring them off the platforms and fledging early.
Mum and her ‘Big’ Girl crying out to Dad.
Dad brought a fish in around 0815. Big kind of rushed Mum once she had the fish. Mum got the catch anchored to her talon and flew around the nest arriving on the other side where she had control of the fish. It was headless so Dad has his share, too. Mum and Big had a nice chunk.
A small headless fish arrived around 1515.
The rain began. Mum and Dad had been perched together. Mum flew over to the nest to Big and Dad joined them at 19:44.
It appears that three of the Melbourne Four have now fledged. One remains at night and some of the others show up on the ledge for prey deliveries.
At Orange, Rubus is shedding many of the dandelions and is watching for Xavier and Diamond to deliver prey. They do not disappoint. Here was yesterdays recap from the moderators: RECAP 10 41 15 D w/ prey, Rubus takes; 11 25 12 X w/prey, D arrives/feeds: 13:31:22 X w/juv star, feeds, X takes: 16:30:10 X w/prey, feeds 18 53 31 Xw/prey, Rubus takes, D arrives , tug o war, D feeds.
There was a tug o war and lots of excitement. Just look at how much of the baby fluff is now gone.
Other Bird News:
One of the things that changes for me – during the winter – is that I do not travel on the roads as much nor do I go to the nature centre 5 days a week for a walk. Saturdays become very quiet and one of the joys is having Ferris Akel in the background doing his live stream around Wildlife Drive, Montezuma, Sapsucker Woods, and Ithaca, New York. We have a few ducks still in the City and a few geese were flying overhead this evening. Someone even has a Baltimore Oriole in their garden today – with the snow! I am, however, having duck withdrawal and Ferris does seem to find them this time of year! I really recommend Ferris Akel’s tours on Saturdays beginning about noon Eastern time. Ferris is humble always saying he doesn’t know this or that but, he does. I have learned so much for him. In fact his tour is often on in the background to whatever else I am doing. You can also check out some of the archived tours of Ferris by going to YouTube and entering Ferris Akel Live.
‘A’ said that she had learned to embrace ‘brown’ never realising that there are so many shades and hues. Fantastic! That brings me great joy. Most of the female birds are considered dull compared to the flamboyant colours of some of the male species. Here is a female Ruddy Duck. Just look at all those wonderful browns and tans, there is a touch of caramel and espresso, and that lovely sort of grey-brown.
All of the birds are at a great distance from where Ferris is streaming. The images are then quite soft. Nonetheless, I hope that you enjoy the few that I am including.
Just a slightly different angle.
A female Shoveler. You can never mistake a Shoveler for a Mallard. Just look at that bill. It is massive in comparison to the size of the head.
There were American Coots and I know that none of us will ever make the mistake of saying a Coot is a duck. It isn’t.
Oh, how I love Sandhill Cranes. They glean the farmer’s fields just after the seed crops have been harvested. There are many in Southern Manitoba in October doing this exact same thing. Gorgeous.
I don’t blame the Canada Geese getting out of Canada. Gosh, golly, it looks like much more fun in the pond at Sapsucker Woods than it is walking around in the snow in Canada and not finding any food.
What shocked me is precisely how much smaller the geese are when compared to the swans.
Just look at that. It makes the Canada Geese look like miniature ducks. Seriously. And I have always thought of them as large.
There was a juvenile Bald Eagle lurking about at Sapsucker Woods also.
Looking for some lunch?
No 6 The Red List: The Hawfinch
Ah, this is another one to pull out those shades and hues of brown. With its head the colour of rust or Corten Steel, its black bib and black eye surround, and heavy beak, this beautiful little bird, the Hawfinch, has a jaw and beak so strong that it can exert pressure of more than 50 kilograms on a seed! The strong triangular beak is black in the winter changing to a blue-black in the summer. Notice the rusty head in comparison to the grey-brown back and that intensive brick-brown eye. Both males and females are similar in appearance.
Hawfinches like to live in woodland where they will feed off various hard seeds. Some, if you are lucky, can be found around gardens eating cherries. The male builds the nest out of dry twigs and grasses lining it with lichen. The female will take over in roughly a fortnight.
Today there are less than 1000 breeding pairs of Hawfinch in the UK. There are a number of causes. Nest predation by Jays and Grey Squirrels is one of these. In Wales, the culprit has been trichomonosis. Trichomonosis is an infectious disease caused by the parasite Trichomonas gallinae. The parasite attacks the upper digestive tract, mainly the crop and esophagus making it difficult for the bird to eat. It can also impact the liver, lungs, and air sacs. The fourth hatch at Melbourne last year died of trichomonosis as did the Mum at the Janakkalan Osprey nest in Finland this past summer.
That’s it for today. I hope that each of you have a wonderful weekend. It looks like it could be dry at Port Lincoln so maybe, at the age of 57 days, Big will be ringed and get that sat pak. We wait to see.
Thank you for being with me. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams which make up my screen captures: Friends of Osprey, Audubon, Cilla Kinross and the Orange, Australia Peregrine Falcon FB, BBC, Tweed Valley Ospreys, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Ferris Akel Tours.
I hope that everyone has had a wonderful start to their Saturday. It is -8 degrees in Winnipeg, heavily overcast with some flakes of snow drifting down. The Blue Jays have been scurrying back and forth for peanuts since dawn.
The following quote is from an article that ‘K’ sent me and I wanted to share it with you. I do so treasure these feathered friends of ours. They have brought me so much love and joy. I cannot imagine – for a single instant – life without them. When I park my car on the street and walk to my house, I can hear them. Singing. What happiness that brings!
“All is an Ocean. All flows and connects so powerfully that if, in this life, you manage to become more gracious by even a drop, it is better for every bird, child, and animal your life touches than you will ever know.” (Dostoyevsky’s, The Brothers Karamazov)
The pictures are from the day before the snow. Mr Crow is here, Junior and one of the three siblings, a White-breasted Nuthatch came to visit, too.
This is Junior. He is the Dad of the three fledglings this year. Junior normally stays all winter. How do I know it is Junior? His feathers are a little duller but it is the thin eye line that extends further back. You can compare them. Junior is sitting on the edge of the bird bath while one of the fledglings is down getting a peanut.
Black isn’t just Black but depending on the light it is a green black or an iridescent purple blue with green as in the second image. Mr Crow is beautiful. My heart warms every day that he comes as it does for all the others.
It was the first time ever I have seen a White-breasted Nuthatch at the feeders in a long time. The last was on the 13th of October in 2019. A little over three years. According to the recent bird surveys, the Nuthatch population is on the rise in Canada and the rest of North America. We normally recognise the Nuthatch because it moves along the tree branches with its head facing downwards.
The squirrels have all been here, too. They have not cooperated for photos! Most of the time they are trying to get as many nuts off the solid seed cylinders as they can!
Oh, we all love those shy flightless parrots who are more than vulnerable. There is new research that might help in caring for these marvellous characters. Adorable. Simply adorable.
Halfway around the world, a much anticipated California Condor release took place a week ago. The Condor is as vulnerable as the Kakapo is. These releases are always great moments, full of emotion and excitement. I missed this event and am so grateful that the release of these four birds back into the wild has been archived so that we can see it at our leisure.
In the Mailbox:
‘N’ writes: Today this was posted by one of the moderators at one of the streaming cams: “We’ve been trying to discourage anthropomorphic stuff for years, I’m afraid. It’s a losing battle. people project human emotions on the birds all the time.” You have mentioned this subject several times. Is it possible for you to repeat what you have said?
I would be happy to, ‘N’. First I would like to introduce Dr Marc Bekoff who is the international authority on animal emotions. He is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I am extremely impressed with the work that Dr Bekoff and other Cognitive Ethologists are conducting. Cognitive Ethology is the comparative, evolutionary, and ecological study of animal minds. This includes their emotions, their beliefs, their reasoning and processing, their consciousness, and self-expression. The keen interest, ‘N’ in animal cognition is not new and it is extremely important for animal welfare and protection. Bekoff sees the field as all encompassing in terms of understanding the subjective, emotional, empathic, and moral lives of animals.
In his research, Dr Bekoff has consistently said that as humans the only language we have is our own and it is the only thing we have to describe animal emotions. If we do not look at them and use the words joyful, grieving, then what words would we use to describe what we are seeing? We have nothing more than what we have. Dr Bekoff continues in his book, The Emotional Lives of Animals, by saying that he knows no researcher who, when working with their animals, “DOES NOT FREELY ANTHROPOMORPHIZE. THIS ANTHROPOMORPHIZING IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF, BY THE WAY; AS ALEXANDRA HOROWITZ AND I HAVE ARGUED…THESE SCIENTISTS ARE SIMPLY DOING WHAT COMES NATURALLY. ANTHROPOMORPHIZING IS AN EVOLVED PERCEPTUAL STRATEGY…IT IS NOW LARGELY ACCEPTED AS FACT, THAT ANIMALS, SHARE THE PRIMARY EMOTIONS, THOSE INSTINCTUAL REACATIONS TO THE WORLD WE CALL FEAR, SURPRISE, SADNESS, DISGUST, AND JOY.” (10). The capital bold letters are mine.
I could continue on for pages ‘N’ but, it is upsetting when someone makes the statement that you have written. I am sorry but they are not informed by the current science. There are many who believe that animals do not feel pain or fear. It makes it easier to kill them! We know animals feel pain. I have seen eagles and other raptors grieving along with the Corvids in my own neighbourhood. I have seen Grackles celebrate the fledge of one of the chicks in my garden (they invite the extended family) and we have all heard and some have been blessed to witness the rituals associated with Crows when one of their group dies. I hope this answers your question and provides you with a beginning from someone expert in the field, Dr Bekoff, to rebuff those statements. I also urge everyone who is interested in this topic to get a copy of this amazing book. It is paperback and can be ordered through library loan as well. It will provide you with a clear foundation on this subject backed up by clear examples, not anecdotes.
In other mail, ‘K’ sent me a wonderful letter and an article, “Cherish This Ecstasy” by David James Duncan from The Sun written in July 2008. I want to share the topic of that article with you – bringing back the Peregrine Falcons from extinction. It seems so appropriate as we just watched Indigo and 2 or is it now 3 of the Melbourne Four fly and await Rubus’s triumphal departure.
Now do you know what the invention was that brought the Peregrine Falcons back from sure extinction? It was the Peregrine Mating Hat invented by one of Cornell’s Ornithologists. The ornithologist would put on the hat. He would sing Chee-up! while, at the same time, bowing Buddhist style. You have seen our falcons do this in their bonding rituals. The male falcon copulates with the hat. The scientists remove the sperm and inject it in the few females they had at the time. The hatchlings were raised in a DDT free environment – and that is how we now have Peregrine Falcons living almost everywhere.
Here is an example of the hat and the process. Turn your sound down a wee bit.
While we are talking and thinking about everything falcon, it is a good time to mention some of the really good books that are out there. They are in no particular order but each is loved and well worn and I pull them off the bookshelf often.
Falcon by Helen MacDonald. I love MacDonald’s books. That is not a secret. This little paperback volume is the social history of falcons from the gods of the Ancient Near East and Egypt to the hunting falcons of Europe and the Middle East. Everything you wanted to know about falcons and more including their use in the military. It really is a good read particularly if you want to known more about falcons than just scientific data – their entire cultural history of falcons in a wonderful narrative. My first pick always for a book on the subject of falcons (not just peregrines) other than a guidebook.
On the Wing. To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine Falcon by Alan Tennant. Ever wanted to fly? to understand how falcons migrate? This is the view from Tennant’s flying and tracking of the falcons as they migrate. Tennant narrates the voyages tracking the birds with the tiny little transmitters on their tails. I like it because the science is woven in with the narrative.
Queen of the Sky by Jackie Morris is a beautiful little book. It not only includes the stunning watercolours of Morris and gorgeous photographs of Hiss and her friend, Ffion Rees, who rescued this dying falcon from the sea and nurtured it back to health. This is a profoundly personal and moving book. There is a deep connection between Ffion Rees and Hiss that develops over time but which began the minute Rees looked into the eyes of that raptor. They looked into the souls of one another. Highly recommended for the art work alone but the story will certainly move you.
The Peregrine by JA Baker. Baker tracks a pair of peregrine falcons during their daily lives. He is transfixed by them. You get to know their habits – everything about them – through the eyes of Baker. Many consider this a ‘must have book’ for the shelf.
There are more but these would get you started – but, as I said, out of all the MacDonald is first. Since I love the paintings of Morris and the positive story of a falcon rescue and release the Morris is second.
And one last falcon bit. Dr Cilla Kinross (the researcher at Orange) went out looking for Indigo today. Xavier and Diamond saw her. I imagine they did not want her to get too close to their beautiful fledgling. The video will not win any awards but it does give you a fantastic idea of the sounds the adults can make if they are anxious about someone being near their offspring.
Before we check on any of the other nests, let’s see how Rubus is doing in the scrape alone. It would appear that some of those dandelions are shedding but there are lots to go. Rubus also appears to be only interested in the visits by parents if they have prey! My goodness Rubus is ferocious when there is prey about. Diamond has been flying up and checking on Rubus quite a bit this morning.
The beautiful golden glow of dawn falls over our dear little one, Rubus, who now looks out to the wide world of Indigo and the parents. Rubus, you will fly too but…it is going to be awhile. You need to get rid of most of that fluffy down. Flap those wings and shake, shake, shake.
Dare I say that Rubus is missing Indigo?
Rubus would love another prey delivery.
Diamond goes over to check on Rubus.
At 367 Collins Street, it is anyone’s guess as to how many of the eases are now fledglings. We know from a video clip from ‘Bathroom Guy’ that at least one has fledged. It is now believed that there are two. This morning very early there were three erases on the ledge waiting for a prey delivery – or at least hoping for a prey delivery! Did one return for breakfast? We know that the eyases can easily reach this height.
Here is a group of photos of the erases on camera this morning. Looking, listening, eating, and loafing.
Loafing has spread around the world…starting with Alden at UC-Berkeley. What an influencer he is!
It seems as if two have fledged and two remain to fledge – but, in truth, we have no idea! That is the nice thing about the scrape at Orange. You can be absolutely certain when the eyas flies for the first time!
The streaming cam remains off at Port Lincoln. This morning when it was back on there was a note that Big had two fish meals both of them brought in by Mum. Thank goodness Big is older and Mum is a good fisher. It is difficult to determine what is going on with Dad but, whatever it is could be linked to his two seizures seen on camera during the early incubation stage.
5 Red Listed Bird: The Mistle Thrush
I first saw an image of this lovely bird after the ospreys had started their migration to Africa. For the life of me I cannot remember if it was the Glaslyn or the Dyfi nest in Wales but, on one of them was this stunning little bird, the Missile Thrush. The scientific name Turdus viscivorus means ‘devourer of Mistletoe’. It is a large songbird with a grey-brown head, back, and wings. Its breast is spotted with the same grey-brown on ivory. Piercing deep espresso eyes with an ever so slight eye ring. The pop of colour comes in the pinky-peach legs. One can only imagine that this combination in haute couture would land it on the Paris runways. In its behaviour, this Thrush is powerful and aggressive. It eats insects, invertebrates, and loves berries. They do love mistletoe but will also eat hawthorn or holly berries. The largest of the warblers in the UK, their son is loud and is carried for a distance from their perch high in trees. Actually, it isn’t a song but a rattle.
These lovely birds are globally threatened. Their numbers have declined dramatically, as much or more than 50%. The cause is a lack of habitat. Hedgerows where the find food and wet ditches because of the drainage of farmland has led to a lack of earthworms and other invertebrate that the Missile Thrush relies on for its food. Cow pastures and woodland have also been lost or degraded.
Research conducted by the RSPB suggests that ‘Farming measures likely to help song thrushes include sympathetic hedgerow management (with tall, thick hedges), planting new woodlands on farmland, and planting wild bird seed mixtures including leafy cover.’ In addition, the RSPB found that preventing the soil from drying out during the summer would be of great benefit to the thrushes. Hotter summers have brought more rain so perhaps, there is some hope here.
Bonus remains in close proximity to the area he has been in Turkey for the last little while. Waba is still in the Sudan feeding at the Nile but has moved slightly south.
It is so wonderful to have you with us. Thank you so much for being part of this marvellous international family of bird lovers. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!
Special thanks go to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Kakapo Recovery, Ventana Wildlife Society, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.